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AMISOM TROOPS TO BE WITHDRAWN FROM SOMALIA; UGANDA WANTS UN TO RECONSIDER DECISION

MOGADISHU-- Contributing states of the African Union Peace mission to Somalia (AMISOM) are concerned about insecurity following the decision to gradually withdraw troops from Somalia and begin the handing over process of national security responsibilities to the Somali security forces.

According to Ugandan minister of foreign affairs, Sam Kutesa it is important to activate the Security Council to reconsider a resolution to reduce the mission.

He suggests that AMISOM should be restored to previous levels so as to facilitate the recovery of the Somali territory still under the control of Al- Shabab and other terrorists groups.

The security and stability of Somalia remain a top priority of the African Union.

There is no doubt that we need to continue sustainability of military operations. We are working with Somali national security forces to ensure that they gradually take up the lion share of the responsibility for security in Somalia, said Moussa Faki mahamat, Chairperson African Union Commission.

Despite repeated attacks from the terrorist group, Somali president said he is ready and able to defeat al -shabab.

But I believe we have a long way to go. We need to put together a sound strategy in order to effectively fight against Al Shabab, to defeat them and I believe they are weak, Abdullahi Mohamed, Somalia President.

AMISOM, comprising of Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sierra Leone, has been helping the Somali government in battling militant group al-shaabab since 2007.

Over the past few days, Shabaab, al Qaeda's branch in Somalia and East Africa, has claimed several attacks on Somali and African Union troops across southern Somalia.

The first attack was an attempted suicide bombing on a Somali military base near the town of Afgoye, just north of Mogadishu. A suicide car bomb was detonated near the base's perimeter, killing one soldier and injuring three others.

However, when the three soldiers were being transported for medical attention, Shabaab ambushed the vehicle with an improvised explosive device (IED). The IED killed four soldiers in the truck.

Other sources have put the combined fatalities closer to 11. Additionally, other sources have stated that foreign troops, namely South Africans, were killed in the suicide bombing at the base.

Shortly thereafter, Shabaab's forces also ambushed a convoy of Burundian troops near Balad, which also sits north of Mogadishu. The militants hit the African Union troops with small arms and explosives, destroying several vehicles and leaving at least five Burundian soldiers dead.

After the ambush, Shabaab then launched a coordinated assault on Balad, briefly taking control over the town. When AMISOM sent reinforcements to the area, the militants then withdrew.

On Sunday, Shabaab claimed responsibility for an attack on Ethiopian troops near the city of Baidoa. While Shabaab claims to have killed 30 soldiers in the strike, local reporting has not confirmed that number.

Shabaab claimed credit for the attacks, saying its forces killed over 80 Somali troops in Afgoye, 23 Burundian troops in Balad, and 30 Ethiopian troops near Baidoa. However, Shabaab routinely inflates the number of casualties in its assaults.

Elsewhere, the Somali jihadist group also killed five Kenyan police officers in northern Kenya on Saturday.

Shabaab has been resurgent in Somalia since losing ground to a combined African Union (AU) and Somali offensive in 2011. The jihadist group has slowly but methodically retaken several towns and villages that it lost in both central and southern Somalia � often after AU or Somali forces withdraw.

In addition, it remains a potent threat against both African Union and Somali military bases in central and southern Somalia.

The al Qaeda branch also remains a serious danger inside northern Kenya, where it has undertaken several assaults and improvised explosive device attacks and even increased its operational tempo there last year.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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